If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know the importance of gaining more experience in the workplace—and you’re not alone. According to a 2021 Lattice career progression survey, nearly a quarter of employees at mid-to-large companies within the United States reported having a lack of tools to define progress on their career path.
As a result, nearly half of employees are likely looking (or considering looking) for new jobs with growth opportunities.
However, if you’re one of those people seeking a new role in order to tap into those new opportunities, you probably also know from experience that finding a new job is easier said than done. So what if you could upskill your career in your current role, instead of going out to find a new job?
We asked transformation coach and Arootah consultant Lauren Bonheim, ACC, to share some actionable ways to increase your responsibilities at work.
5 Surefire Ways to Get Additional Responsibilities at Work
Sure, asking your boss for additional responsibilities at work can be intimidating, and you might not know where to start the conversation—but doing so is well worth it. Not only can it help you achieve the upskill advantage you want, it can provide you with opportunities for career growth and success, such as promotions and raises.
1. Put yourself out there
So what doesn’t work when you want more responsibility at work? Flying under the radar and staying silent. Sometimes, even just doing a good job and working hard isn’t enough on its own. You have to get yourself noticed. Get on your supervisor’s radar. Participate in meetings. Speak up. Spread your good ideas.
2. Be prepared for the ask
At some point, you’ll need to actually ask your supervisor for more responsibility, rather than just waiting for them to hand it to you. “The first step to getting something that you want is to ask for it,” says Bonheim. However, she also points to the importance of being prepared before you make that ask. “Be sure to take the time to get very clear on what type of added responsibility you’d like to take on and what you’re available for before initiating this conversation,” she adds. If you go into a meeting like this without knowing what you want and why you should get it, you may squander your one chance and end up waiting much longer for your next opportunity. Instead, ask yourself questions, like “What do I want to learn? What skills do I want to develop? What experience would I like to have on my resume?” After you’ve made a solid game plan for asking your boss for the new responsibilities you’d like to add to your role, request a time to speak with them—but not a second before you feel confident about your plan.
3. Practice the skills you’ll need in advance
Chances are likely the new responsibilities you ask for will require some new skills. Maybe that’s delegation and managing a team. Or perhaps you’ll need skills that aren’t so soft but are more technical in nature. Whatever the case may be, start working on those skills ahead of time, so it’s clear to your supervisor you’ve already acquired some of the characteristics you need to manage the extra responsibility. While you may not be able to fully flesh out those skills before actually taking on the extra duties, you can still get started learning.
4. Choose the right timing
When considering how to ask for more responsibility at work, many professionals don’t think about timing. You want to give yourself a strong chance for success, so it’s important to pick the best time to ask for new tasks. For example, if you ask for more responsibilities around the holiday season when you know you’ll be taking time off work, or if you ask for more responsibilities during your company’s busiest months, you might not have enough time to devote to the newest components of your role. Likewise, if you’re getting the hang of specific tasks in your current role, you might discover that you’re putting more on your plate than you can handle.
5. Find the need
One of the easiest ways to guarantee your supervisor will give you the extra responsibilities you want? Find a need. Every team has them. Every team needs to fill certain voids or improve components of the workflow, etcetera. Talk to your colleagues to identify these pain points, so you can directly address them with your supervisor. If you come in offering value and a way to fix the pain points, you’re far more likely to get what you want.
The Bottom Line
Accepting more opportunities and gaining professional experience can set you up for future success, but you can’t just wait around hoping those opportunities will fall into your lap. You have to be proactive about gaining new opportunities in your workplace, making strategic decisions to upskill, and pushing your career forward. If you’re looking to escalate your career or you’re struggling in your current role, an Arootah Career Coach can assist you in bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be.